Hey Soompiers! We’re coming close to the halfway point of Soompi’s first fic marathon, ending Week 5 with 95 written submissions. Since last week’s update, we’ve started Round 4 with new prompts (writing: personify one of the seven deadly sins as a gasoo; reading: recommend a less known fic in the fic section) and new games (Writing Remix & The Reader’s Brew).
Here are some highlights of Round 3’s writing/reading submissions that we enjoyed:
Synopsizing a fic in less than 25 words
eggball: Merci and Haruko both needed someone. What’s supposed to be short term turned into forever. (Fic: A Year and a Day by black_wings)
angelfightrJ: It didn’t matter that Youngbae was nice and had a charming smile. Chaerin knew he was shady…
He drove a white van, after all. (Fic: Unmarked White Vehicle by mariika)
Writing stories out of randomly, slapped-together-letters
Yoyo from ghilaire’s “jepa”: Jung’s evil papa awaits.
UponARose from asmiera’s “yyyhjsk”: Yvette’s yellow yoghurt had just sighted kangaroos.
Lastly, here are three fics chosen by the mods to spotlight for the week (if you want a chance to be featured in the next spotlight, join us in the writer’s thread!)
Team Number: 3
Chosen Items: crossword puzzle, bubblegum
He was utterly annoyed and found it hard to hide it. Why had he chosen to sit here in the first place?
He tried his hardest not to roll his eyes as he glanced over at the girl beside him. Was this how teenagers dressed nowadays? She wore a plaid long sleeve button up accessorized with a black vest, a myriad of different pins attached to the vest. Her tightly fitted black jeans had chains of all sorts hanging from the waist, a spiked belt lining her waist. But he was sure there was no need for a belt in the first place; it wasn’t like her pants were sagging. Her wrists and fingers were covered in accessories, several necklaces also hanging from her neck. She had multiple piercings on her ears and a couple on her face as well. Her hair was definitely the finishing touch to her look: short, platinum blonde hair with hot pink panels.
It seemed to him like someone was screaming for attention. And here she was, sitting beside him in this vast airport, chewing obnoxiously on her pink bubble gum while working on the crossword puzzle in what looked like a crossword workbook. She had earphones in her ears, her head lightly bobbing every now and then, and he took it as a good sign that he couldn’t hear the music from where he sat. He shifted a little in his seat, uncomfortably trying to hide his annoyance by glancing at the clock opposite of where he sat. 45 minutes until take-off, 15 minutes until boarding. He heaved a deep sigh.
“Ahjusshi, do you think you can help me?”
He turned to her and met her wondering gaze. Her earphones were out of her ears now, the wire sitting aimlessly on her lap. He furrowed his eyebrows a bit.
“Me?” he asked. She half smiled, half smirked and nodded.
“You look smart, ahjusshi. So maybe you can help me with this one.” She said. She glanced down at the nice suit he was wearing, his briefcase settled on the floor before him.
“I’ve never done a crossword puzzle before so I don’t know if I’d be much help.” He replied, looking away from her.
“It’s really not that hard, ahjusshi. I’ll read you the clue and maybe you’ll know the word I’m looking for.” She insisted. She looked down at her book and read the clue. “To form an opinion or estimate. A 5-letter word.” She turned to him expectantly.
He wasn’t sure what to say. She was a lot more forward than he had initially thought her to be. He figured the best way to get out of this awkward situation was to answer her. He gave her clue some thought and came up with an answer.
She smiled widely and hit her forehead with the end of her pen.
“Ahh…that’s right. To judge. What a word, eh?” she said as she wrote down the answer in her book. “We find ourselves doing it even when we don’t mean to be doing it, huh, ahjusshi? Like how I assumed you were smart by your attire. Or like how you assumed I’m a troublemaker by the way I’m dressed…right?” she said, not looking up from her book and resuming her obnoxious chewing from before.
“Listen here, miss—”
“And here comes the denial, which usually always follows after one judges another. We need an excuse to justify why our thoughts shouldn’t be considered as judging.” She looked up at him and smiled again.
“It’s okay, ahjusshi. I get that a lot. There’s no need to defend yourself.” She said, going back to her puzzle. His eyes widened a bit as he stared at her. He wasn’t one to be stumped; he had quite a tongue when in debates and discussions. But at the words this girl had said, he found no words of his own coming to his lips to argue back.
“Would you believe me if I told you I’m a law student at Harvard?” She paused and he remained silent. “You probably wouldn’t, huh? A lot of people wouldn’t. But if I told you I’m a high school drop-out working at a club to try and make ends meet, you’d believe me, wouldn’t you?” She said. After a few silent seconds, he cleared his throat loudly.
“I don’t know what you’re getting at, miss—”
“Have you ever wondered that maybe…people like me just need someone to believe in them? We aren’t attention-seekers, rebels, or low-lives. The only thing we seek is another’s trust that despite what may have led us to change our physical appearance like such, we’re still pulling through on the inside. Have you ever thought of that, ahjusshi?” she cut across him again. She looked up at him and smiled a small smile.
“Because to us, even a stranger’s trust can be comforting.”
She closed her book, stowed it in her ripped up bag and stood from her seat, chomping loudly on her gum as so did so.
“I am a law student at Harvard and my next big debate is about appearance and how it plays a major factor in every aspect of life. Thanks for helping me out with my experiment, ahjusshi.” She said. She bowed to him and started on her way down the hall.
He stared curiously after her, still trying to take in what had just happened. Then, a smile slowly spread across his face. A stranger with a daring appearance and pink bubble gum had just taught him a bit about life through a crossword puzzle. It’s amazing how the unlikeliest people could teach a lesson on life through the most unlikeliest things at the most unpredictable moments.
He made a mental note to try it one day.
Team Number: 2
Chosen Items: Fork, suitcase
I was on my way home and decided for the first time to take the short-cut as I turned into the alley way and bumped into a girl that had a fork and a dirty suitcase in her tiny hands. She was small, and fragile; but there was something about her that made me want to protect her.
She reminded me of myself, of how hard life was for a person with no parents or a roof to live under; constantly hiding in the alley way with fear of running into those with bad intentions.
I took her in, and cared for her like a daughter of my own. She wasn’t a mute, but she refused to speak.
“Why are you always holding onto this fork?” I would ask, but she would shake her head and hold onto it tighter. She wouldn’t let the fork out of her sight, nor would she let anyone touch the small suitcase.
I accidentally walked into her bedroom that evening, but she didn’t notice me. She was sitting in the middle of the room with the open empty suitcase beside her and a photo in her hands.
“Umma, I’m sorry for always locking you in this suitcase, but it’s the only thing that could protect this last photo of ours. There is nothing else left on this earth for me to remember you by.” She said as she brought the photo closer to her heart.
One day, she was holding onto a cup of orange juice and accidently spilt it onto my white sofa and while I was busy cleaning up the mess with anger written on my face; her small lips made a small frown and tears were threatening to fall from her eyes.
“Why are you frowning, darling?” I asked with a soft voice forgetting about the mess.
“Please don’t throw me out…” She finally said; the words flowed out of her lips as her tears slid down her cheeks.
I smiled, “Silly girl, I’m never going to throw you out. This is your home now, and it always will be from now on.” I hugged her and rubbed her back to stop the tears from flowing out of her small eyes.
After a minute of calming down, she pulled out of my hug and asked for my hand.
I was confused, but listened to her regardless as I brought up my hand. She raised the hand that was gripping onto the fork and dropped the fork into my hands.
“You’re not going to need this anymore?” I asked her, still confused of what she was trying to tell me.
“No.” She answered sternly.
“Why not?” I questioned.
“Homeless kids used to hold tightly onto forks for protection, now that I have a home and a mother to protect me; there is no longer a need to rely on a fork.”
I smiled and wiped away her tears with my thumb.
“That’s right; you no longer need to rely on a fork for your protection now that I’m here.” I said as I pulled her into a tight and warm hug.
“Because I’ll always be there to protect you.”
Team Number: team 2
Chosen Items: cards, bubblegum and cassette tape
The last one smiling
Kang Woo leaned back in his chair after checking his cards, not bad at all. The color of gray everywhere around him, he glanced to his left and then slowly shifted his gaze to his right, capturing everyone’s facial expressions on the way. Not even a muscle moved on his face while he made his conclusion.
The fat man in red t-shirt was going to lose this round, the bald guy with cigarette in his mouth looked confident, the one in black cap seemed hesitant and the guy with long hair swept into a tight ponytail kept chewing his bubblegum loudly, making the most annoying noise ever.
The bubblegum guy was Kang Woo’s hardest opponent, having the most perfect poker face he had ever seen. Not that he was bad himself, no no no, he was one of the best but now when so much depended on the game, he couldn’t but feel a little worried.
The music coming from an old cassette tape never stopped playing on the background, though it kept cracking and rattling as if about to break. Once in a while the man dressed in black suit, dark glasses on his eyes hit the player and it would play properly for a while. He stood at the door making sure no one could run away without facing the consequences of cheating or not having enough money to pay to the winner. There were dark spots on the concrete floor, blood. The one getting shot in the room would never see day light again.
Cigarette smoke hovered over the player’s heads as they kept gambling their wealth and health away. One lonely lamp hung above the round table they were sitting at, being the only source of light in whole room. Someone coughed, the fat man shifted on his seat, the guy with cap on his head scratched his nose, a bead of sweat appeared on bald man’s forehead and the long haired man stopped chewing his gum. Kang Woo’s lips curled into a lopsided smile.
“Son of a bit.ch!” Long haired man squinted his eyes at Kang Woo and his mustache twitched, everything about this man was utterly annoying. If Kang Woo lost to him today he swore he’d kill himself.
“Let’s see what we all have, shall we?”
“Wait” The cigarette almost fell from bald man’s lips. “All in!” He moved all his money to the middle of the table.
The fat man eyed everyone in suspicion. “I’m out.” He slammed his cards on the table and stood up, his chair making an ear tearing screechy sound.
“Fck” The guy in black cap winced and glared at the fat guy.
“Get out then” Long haired man waved his hand in the air, sounding a little irritated. He resumed chewing his gum his eyes concentrating on Kang Woo’s blank face. No matter how much he tried he couldn’t crack this newcomer open.
“I want to see what you have, pretty boy.”
“Well then” Kang Woo smiled as he turned his cards over “A royal flush.”
The old cassette tape finally came to the end of it’s life and the music stopped abruptly. The man who stood at the door cursed softly by himself.
Long haired man’s face stiffened, the guy in black cap rolled his eyes, the bald man stared at Kang Woo’s cards in disbelief. Slowly he looked up his eyes darting all around as if he was panicking. Then he glanced at the guy in black cap as if giving him a sign of some sort.
“Very well, you are good” long haired man chuckled leaning back in his chair. “It’s all yours then.” He glanced idly at the money.
“Thank you very much” Kang Woo said, his face still expressionless, as he scooped all the money towards himself and quickly packed it into his bag.
A sharp click of a gun echoed in the room, two gunshots and complete silence. Kang Woo didn’t flinch, he knew this would happen sooner or later. He didn’t even raise his head to see what had happened. He just concentrated packing his money while the man in black suit and long haired guy put their guns away.
“If you want to cheat.” The long haired man stood up, looking at their two co-players in disgust. “Don’t make it as obvious as these two” his voice was full of sarcasm.
“I never cheat” Kang Woo said coldly as he stood up.
“Good, because I hate cheaters so much I don’t hesitate to send them all to hell” long haired man laughed coldly and chewed on his bubble gum loudly. “Tony, escort this gentleman out and clean the mess. We will be having another game in a few hours.”
“Yes boss.” The man in black suit bowed.
“You want to join us?”
“No thanks, this was enough. I don’t play anymore” Kang Woo was sick of gambling on his life. This time, he just needed a lot of money and fast. He swore this would be the last time.
“Then goodbye, I’d like to see you again.”
Tony stepped out from Kang Woo’s way and let him walk out from the room. He walked trough bustling night club, receiving a few interested glances from women but never paying any attention to them. This wasn’t his first time winning so much money so he let the bag hang loosely from his shoulder, not looking suspicious at all. A smile finally spread on Kang Woo’s lips as he stepped out from the club and looked to his both sides.
They did it again, they won. He took out his cellphone and dialed his friend’s number. The fat man, still wearing that same t-shirt picked up immediately. It was their luck the two other men acted so suspiciously.
“How did it go?” he asked.
“I won, thanks” Kang Woo said lazily but his voice was happy.
“Wanna meet later?”
“Yeah, but first I need to go pay the hospital bills.”
“Well, call me later.”
While Tony packed the bodies in black sacks the long haired guy walked to the cassette player and opened it. He took out the ancient cassette tape and examined it wondering if it could be fixed. He’d buy a CD player but there was no CD with these songs. All he had left was the old cassette tape and a faint memory of a beautiful perfume, red lips and long nails.
All he had was nothing.
Chewing loudly on his gum he glanced at the scattered cards on the table, remembering picture clear how the players had sat around the table a while ago. Watching from this new angle he tilted his head to the side, deep in his thoughts. Something about the fat man leaving so suddenly bothered him. But there was nothing suspicious about it. He walked slowly to the table and started collecting the cards, counting them was an old habit. He stopped when all cards were in his left hand.
“Tony, check the bodies. One card is missing.”
Kang Woo was just one turn away from the hospital when someone bumped into him. He stumbled to the side but didn’t fall, even when he felt something sharp cut his flesh open. He gripped to his side, biting his lips tightly together from the pain he felt. This was no time to go after the man who had stabbed him to find out his identity. No, even though it hurt like he.ll Kang Woo made his way towards the hospital, fast. He took out his phone and dialed his friend’s number. All he could hear from the other line was familiar sound of loud chewing. Immediately he hung up.
“Damn they are fast. How the hell?” he mumbled by himself as he stepped in the hospital building.
“I want to pay all hospital bills of the patient in room 234.”
“Are you her family?”
“I’m her uncle” Kang Woo lied. He didn’t even know the little girl. He had come to visit one of his friends and accidentally saw a mother cry her eyes off because she didn’t have enough money for the operation to save her little girl’s life.
“Uh, sir are you all right? You look very pale?”
“I’m fine. Where is the bathroom?” Kang Woo placed the bag on the counter. “Here is the money, please you have to put her trough the operation right away.”
“There are a few documents you- sir!” the nurse stood up when she saw Kang Woo make his way towards the bathroom. “Please wait! Sir.”
Locking himself in one of the stalls Kang Woo leaned on the wall and his weakened body slid on the floor. He had difficulties to breathe but still enough strength to go trough his pockets. There it was, the queen of hearts. And Kang Woo uttered an ironic laughter. He shouldn’t have let his guard down, he forgot.
Well, at least he did one good deed in his life. Maybe God would forgive him and all his dirty sins. Kang Woo smiled by himself, he knew all along the end would be something pitiful like this. So he took out his mp3 player and placed the headphones in his ears with his trembling fingers then putting on his favorite song just to make his last minutes alive a bit happier. “I still won” he whispered.
In his life, never had he lost one game.
He just lost his life but at least he went with a smile on his lips. A happy smile.
Rattling cassette tape was playing again, the long haired guy sat at the round table alone now. Chewing onto his gum loudly he stared lifelessly in front of himself.
“Yes?” The man in black suit perked up, he was sick of standing in front of the damned door but it was his duty.
“I’m regretting a little, you know… I liked that guy.” He’d usually smile at a situation like this but now he couldn’t.
Crumbled and stained in blood, the queen of hearts rested on the table in front of him.